The Science of Genetics

The Science of Genetics

The Science of Genetics

The Science of Genetics

Excerpt

The purpose and scope of this little book have been set out fully in its first chapter. They may be summarized here as follows.

It has not been my intention to provide an entertaining account of the most recent discoveries in genetics: the double helix of DNA, genetic coding, bacterial transformation, "killers" in Paramecium, sexual processes in bacteria and viruses, etc. These exciting discoveries find their modest place in the late chapters. Anybody who wants more information on them can get it from the many excellent popular articles, lectures, films, and television programs that are devoted to topical biology.

But it is my firm conviction that a clear grasp of the elements of genetics is indispensable to anybody who wants to take away from such educational occasions more than a few awe-inspiring technical terms, a few intriguing three-letter words like DNA and RNA, and a hazy conviction that modern geneticists are doing wonderful things. It is my intention to provide the indispensable knowledge without which the most recent advances in genetics cannot be understood.

I do not wish to imply, however, that this book forms only a prelude to what is really valuable and interesting in genetics. Quite to the contrary, I believe that all aspects of genetics are fascinating in their own right, that many of them take us right up to the fundamental problems of life, and that others are deeply interwoven with problems of human health and happiness. In addition, all of them are exciting. Sixty years ago Mendel's laws and thirty years . . .

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